The best part of Sun ‘n Fun is about bringing people together who love aviation. “The world of aviation is filled with people who do things,” says Sun ‘n Fun outgoing president and CEO John “Lites” Leenhouts. “They don’t think about it; they don’t talk about; they do it." Sun ‘n Fun runs April 5-10 in Lakeland, Florida. Credit: Molly McMillin
The Piper M600
Piper Aircraft’s M600 SLS on display at Piper’s exhibit at Sun ‘n Fun, features Garmin’s AutoLand system, or HALO, which automatically lands the aircraft in the event the pilot becomes incapacitated. Some M600 buyers are trading in their non-Halo equipped M600s for aircraft equipped with the system. Piper is also gaining customers from the competition because of the feature and from Piper owners trading up to the aircraft, says Ron Gunnarson, Piper vice president of sales, marketing and customer support.
A Robust Market
Piper’s Pilot 100i trainer has a range of 522 nm and a maximum cruise speed of 128 kt. The aircraft market is robust, officials say. Piper is sold out for 2022 and taking orders for delivery in 2023 and 2024.
Alternatives For 100LL Avgas Top Issue, Leaders Say
During a forum, industry leaders say finding a drop-in replacement for 100LL aviation fuel is the biggest challenge facing the general aviation industry, especially in light of an “endangerment finding” expected from the EPA later this year. An Eagle initiative launched earlier this year is working to bring government and industry together to solve the issue. The forum was moderated by John “Lites” Leenhouts, outgoing president and CEO of Sun ‘n Fun, (left). Panelists include Pete Bunce, General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO (second from left); Jack Pelton, Experimental Aircraft Association president and CEO; and Marc Baker, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association president and CEO (far right). Credit: Molly McMillin
Daher displays the Kodiak 100 unpressurized turboprop at Sun ‘n Fun. The company expects Kodiak deliveries to increase from 17 in 2021 to 25 in 2022. Daher also plans to increase TBM aircraft deliveries from 51 in 2021 to 60. The increase will depend on its supply chain, however. Credit: Molly McMillin
Textron Aviation announced upgrades to the Beechcraft Baron G58, Beechcraft Bonanza G36 and to its Cessna piston line of aircraft as Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo opened. The company is increasing the takeoff weight to the Bonanza G36 by 155 lb., giving the aircraft a useful load of 1,213 lb. in a standard configuration with six seats. Barons and Bonanzas also will include a Garmin GI 275 electronic standby, a carbon monoxide detector integrated with the Garmin avionics system and other features. The Baron G58 shown here is a test aircraft. Credit: Molly McMillin
The Beechcraft Denali
A mockup of Textron Aviation's Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop draws attention from visitors at Sun 'n Fun. The Denali made its first flight in November 2021 with certification expected in 2023. Credit: Molly McMillin
Textron Aviation's Cessna Stationair
New Cessna high-wing piston aircraft, such as this Cessna Stationair, will offer upgraded interiors with Alacantara inserts in the seats – a suede-like, fire-resistant microfiber product. Aircraft also will include a Garmin GI 275 electronic standby, eliminating three analog standby instruments, USB ports at every seat, powered headset plugs in the cockpit, updated LED exterior lighting and other upgrades. Credit: Molly McMillin
Return Of The Cessna Turbo Skylane
In February, Textron Aviation announced the return of the Cessna Turbo Skylane T182T piston aircraft with first deliveries in early 2023. The aircraft will be powered by a Lycoming TIO 540 AK1A engine, such as the one on display here. The engine allows the aircraft to climb 1,040 ft. per min. to a maximum cruising altitude of 20,000 ft. while maintaining its full 235 hp. Credit: Molly McMillin
When Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo opened on April 5, presale sales totaled $1.33 million, up 10% from preshow sales of 2021, which was a record year, according to Sun ‘n Fun outgoing president and CEO John “Lites” Leenhouts. Money raised supports education in the sciences and aerospace. “Our mission is to engage, educate and accelerate the next generation of aerospace professionals,” Leenhouts says. “In doing that, we’re generating good citizens.” The show runs April 5-10 in Lakeland, Florida.
Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.